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Commerce chief Canfield: Alabama team building on 2015 successes

ORANGE BEACH, Alabama – While Alabama’s economic development team registered a record-setting year in 2015, the state’s leading industrial recruiter says the team continues to target game-changing projects.

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, spoke to the Alabama NewsCenter after a Monday address at the Economic Development Association of Alabama summer conference in Orange Beach.

“We’ve gone back several years and we can’t find a year where we had $7.1 billion in capital investment like we had in 2015,” Secretary Canfield told the NewsCenter in the interview. “It’s quite an achievement. It’s going to be hard to beat.”

Those 2015 economic development projects will bring more than 19,200 new and future jobs to Alabama, according to Commerce’s New & Expanding Industry Report.

“We’re pretty proud of 2015, but we’re not stopping,” Secretary Canfield said. “We’re doing some important and significant work in 2016. It might not be a record year, but it’s definitely an important year for the future of economic development in Alabama.”

Key 2015 projects included Google’s $600 million data center in Jackson County, Polaris’ $127 million ATV manufacturing facility in Huntsville, and Mercedes-Benz’s $1.3 billion expansion in Vance.

With Airbus now producing A320 Family passenger jets in Mobile, recruitment efforts in the aerospace sector have been elevated. Gov. Robert Bentley led a large Alabama delegation at this month’s Farnborough International Airshow, where the team engaged in meetings with aerospace executives.

“We had great meetings. We had great news from Airbus,” Secretary Canfield said. “They’ve been very pleased with the quality, the production rate and the ability to ramp up their production probably a little quicker that they had ever planned to, which is is really good for Mobile and really good for Alabama.”

In addition, he said Alabama is an appealing location for international aerospace companies interested in developing a foothold in North America.

“They’re interested in Alabama, so ‘Made in Alabama’ is really sending a signal that is easily recognized across the globe,” he told the Alabama NewsCenter in a video interview. “That’s what we were really wanted to do with that brand.”

Read the entire NewsCenter article.


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